Patients help train medics

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PEOPLE living with mental health problems are using their experiences to help train junior psychiatrists in Sheffield.

The ‘experts by experience’ are all service users with Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust and have been working to develop a training course for junior psychiatrists using their first hand knowledge.

The annual half-day course is aimed at qualified doctors part-way through their psychiatric training.

In small groups trainees are challenged to undertake mock outpatient interviews, using scenarios written by service users. After each role-play the trainee receives feedback from the rest of the group on listening and questioning skills, empathy, and ability to ‘think on your feet’.

Myra Wilson, a service user governor at the trust, said: “We wanted to move beyond service user ‘involvement’ to develop a more collaborative approach to training, bringing together clinical expertise with service user experience and knowledge.

“Feedback from the trainees has been that they have found it most useful in understanding how to relate to service users, breaking down barriers in communication.”